Rapamycin prevents and breaks the anti-CD3-induced tolerance in NOD mice

Andrea Valle, Tatiana Jofra, Angela Stabilini, Mark Atkinson, Maria Grazia Roncarolo, Manuela Battaglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE-Non-Fc-binding anti-CD3-specific antibodies represent a promising therapy for preserving C-peptide production in subjects with recent-onset type 1 diabetes. However, the mechanisms by which anti-CD3 exerts its beneficial effect are still poorly understood, and it is questionable whether this therapeutic approach will prove durable with regard to its ability to impart metabolic preservation without additional actions designed to maintain immunological tolerance. We used the NOD mouse model to test whether rapamycin, a compound well- known for its immunomodulatory activity in mice and humans, could increase the therapeutic effectiveness of anti-CD3 treatment in type 1 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS-Rapamycin was administered to diabetic NOD mice simultaneously with anti-CD3 or to NOD mice cured by anti-CD3 therapy. The ability of this combined therapy to revert type 1 diabetes and maintain a state of long-term tolerance was monitored and compared with that of anti-CD3 therapy alone. RESULTS-Rapamycin inhibited the ability of anti-CD3 to revert disease without affecting the frequency/phenotype of T-cells. Rapamycin also reinstated diabetes in mice whose disease was previously reversed by anti-CD3. Withdrawal of rapamycin in these latter animals promptly restored a normoglycemic state. CONCLUSIONS-Our findings indicate that, when combined with anti-CD3, rapamycin exerts a detrimental effect on the disease outcome in NOD mice for as long as it is administered. These results suggest strong caution with regard to combining these treatments in type 1 diabetic patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)875-881
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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